Actor and comedian John Witherspoon, who for decades made audiences laugh in television shows and films, including the hit “Friday” franchise, died suddenly at his home today at age 77.
Witherspoon’s family announced the devastating news in a statement to Deadline. “It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77,” the statement read. “He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy, and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say, ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was a huge deal to us.”
The comedy great was born in Detroit in 1942 as John Weatherspoon. He launched a stand-up comedy career and began acting in the late 1970s with guest-starring TV roles. He made his feature film debut in the 1980 “The Jazz Singer.”
Witherspoon appeared in numerous films and gave fantastic comedic performances in classic movies, including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “Boomerang,” “Vampire in Brooklyn,” “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” “Bird” and “The Meteor Man.”
Witherspoon was perhaps best known for his roles as ‘Granddad’ in the animated series “The Boondocks,” Pops in “The Wayans Bros,” and as the grump Mr. Jones alongside Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in “Friday “ franchise. He was also expected to reprise his role in the long-awaited final installment of the franchise entitled “Last Friday.”
Our condolences to the family!